After Jail, Youth With Disabilities Need Support to Stay Out
When young people with disabilities end up in the juvenile justice system, they’re less likely to return to youth prisons after their sentence is up if they have jobs or go to school quickly after being released, a new paper says.
However, comprehensive programs that help these youth go from prison to the outside world are scarce, says this piece from Project Forum at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education. And juveniles with disabilities have a high recidivism rate—more than the 55 percent rate for youth without disabilities.
The report looks closely at the practices in four states—Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, and Oregon—when it comes to supporting all juveniles, including those with disabilities, who are leaving the justice system.
Some common practices the report found in states with programs intended to reduce recidivism for these young people include: a continuum of supports for youth that begins in prison and keeps going once they leave; transition facilitators or coordinators who are dedicated to working with these youth; and programs for reentering society that are comprehensive, addressing education, employment, social and behavioral skills, mental health, substance-abuse issues, housing, and transportation. Another common theme in the report? Budget problems often keep these programs from going long-term.